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Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:17 pm

Thanks. I'll check out the review of the Focal Shape Twins on Thursday :thumbup:

Saying that I'm really enjoying using the Eve TS108 so far. The remote control feature works brilliantly as well!

The only small negative I've found so far is the increase of hiss coming through the KH120's when you turn the System Volume on the TS108's above 50%. I'm not noticing any increase in hiss when I turn up the Sub Volume it only happens when I turn the whole System Volume up beyond 50%. I'm guessing this is due to adding another analogue device (TS108) into the audio chain?

My mixing room has very little ambient noise and my computer is pretty much silent as it uses SSD's and ultra quiet fans so any hiss can be pretty noticeable!
At the moment I have my monitoring chain turned down quite a lot. The KH120's output setting has been turned down from the 114dB setting to 100dB and the output on my audio interface is never really turned up beyond 50%! This means I have a lot of headroom left!
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:50 pm

dickiefunk wrote: This means I have a lot of headroom left!

This means your gain structure might not be correctly optimised! :lol:
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:20 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
dickiefunk wrote: This means I have a lot of headroom left!

This means your gain structure might not be correctly optimised! :lol:

Could you offer any advice if this is the case?
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:02 am

Your reference level position for the monitor volume control should be about 2-o'clock, rather than under 12-o'clock. That will optimise the signal levels through the monitor controller, minimise stereo tracking issues, and avoid having too much headroom in the speakers to deafen you if something goes wrong and you get full level noise!

Reduce the input sensitivity of the Neumanns to the 94dB setting if necessary to maintain a sensible reference acoustic level in the room.

It sounds like the hiss is coming from your subwoofer, and I presume that is applying high-pass filtering for your Neumanns. If so, you may need to optimise the signal levels through the sub to maximise the signal-noise ratio.

Alternatively -- and this would be my preference -- feed the monitors directly from your monitor controller with a full-range signal and split the output to feed the sub directly. Then adjust the sub's low-pass filter to bring it in under the Neumanns and balance the level as necessary.

H
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:40 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Your reference level position for the monitor volume control should be about 2-o'clock, rather than under 12-o'clock. That will optimise the signal levels through the monitor controller, minimise stereo tracking issues, and avoid having too much headroom in the speakers to deafen you if something goes wrong and you get full level noise!

Reduce the input sensitivity of the Neumanns to the 94dB setting if necessary to maintain a sensible reference acoustic level in the room.

H

Hi Hugh,

Thanks for the info, very helpful :thumbup: Yes I would have the reference level of my interface set at around 2 o'clock and have the Neumanns set to 94dB if I was purely using them for myself to mix on. However, I sometimes have bass players and drummers in who like it louder and want to be able to feel the sound more hence having them set to 100dB with the ability to turn them up more when needed.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
It sounds like the hiss is coming from your subwoofer, and I presume that is applying high-pass filtering for your Neumanns. If so, you may need to optimise the signal levels through the sub to maximise the signal-noise ratio.

H

I've been in communication with Eve Audio and they have been very helpful with prompt replies. They have tested and measured the TS108 with the KH120's themselves and have said turning up the System Volume on the TS108 does not add any hiss to the KH120's but what the Focusrite does is out of their knowledge.
However, when I turn the System Volume up past 50% on the TS108 there is a noticeble increase in hiss through the KH120's
I'm not sure how the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP could be responsible??

Any thoughts?
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:49 pm

Regarding your bassist and drummer... Why compromise your everyday performance? Set the monitor gain structure correctly for your normal use, and then flick the sensitivity switches up a notch or two when your chums come over! :-)

As for the focusrite, if you are running the outputs with some digital attenuation you are compromising the signal-to-noise ratio of the output converters, and that could possibly be your source or audible noise....

I'm not clear from wha you've said whether the noise is coming from the sub, or from the interface and being made more audible when you turn the sub up.

If you hard bypass the sub, is the noise level the same?

H
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:01 pm

Thanks Hugh. I've been busy trying your suggestions and have also been speaking to both Eve Audio and Focusrite tech support (who have both been extremely helpful :clap: ).

1/ When I bypass the sub and plug the Focusrite Saffire directly into the KH120's I'm getting roughly 50% more output with no increase in hiss. However, when I turn the Saffire's master volume up beyond 50% I get an increase in hiss (like when turning the System Volume up on the EVE TS108 sub beyond 50%).

2/ If I plug into the EVE TS108 before the KH120's and have both the Focusrite master volume set to 50% and System Volume of the EVE set at 50% I get no increase in hiss but the overall volume is 50% lower. However, now if I increase the Focusrite's master volume to 100% I'm not getting an increase in hiss this time and am getting the same output level as when plugging the Focusrite (master volume set at 50%) directly into the KH120's :thumbup:

There doesn't seem to be a fault just the gain staging has changed :?:
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:31 pm

I also bought SOS yesterday and read the Focal Shape Twin's review and it does look very good and was a very interesting read. However, I'm not sure it's really going to be much if any of an upgrade over my KH120/Eve TS108 setup?

Really I'd love something like the Unity Audio Super Rock's, Rock mkIIIDSP or Neumann KH310 but those cost more than my current monitoring setup!
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Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:29 pm

dickiefunk wrote:When I bypass the sub and plug the Focusrite Saffire directly into the KH120's I'm getting roughly 50% more output with no increase in hiss.

This suggests that the sub is attenuating the signal (obviously) and is the main source of hiss...

However, when I turn the Saffire's master volume up beyond 50% I get an increase in hiss

If you raise the gain of the whole system you will be more aware of the quiescent background hiss -- what's important is the signal-to-noise ratio... and to ascertain that you need to work with a constant acoustic output level. The test you've described is not that helpful and quite misleading I fear.

2/ If I plug into the EVE TS108 before the KH120's and have both the Focusrite master volume set to 50% and System Volume of the EVE set at 50% I get no increase in hiss but the overall volume is 50% lower. However, now if I increase the Focusrite's master volume to 100% I'm not getting an increase in hiss this time and am getting the same output level as when plugging the Focusrite (master volume set at 50%) directly into the KH120's :thumbup:

There doesn't seem to be a fault just the gain staging has changed :?:

As I said earlier, optimising the gain staging is key....

H
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